Written by Chris Kubala
With the college basketball season coming to a screeching halt back in March before March Madness thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a lot of uncertainty about how things may play out for hundreds of players. There are a ton of players in the transfer portal looking for a waiver in order to be able to continue their career at a new school. With the NCAA not voting on an immediate transfer policy, a lot of those players could be looking at missing the 2020-21 season barring getting a waiver. There were more than 200 players that declared for the NBA Draft, which has only 60 draft slots. That leaves a lot of flux, not to mention guys that are going to inevitably go unselected.
Florida guard Andrew Nembhard is one of those guys who declared for the draft and signed with an agent. After two seasons with the Gators, he was ready to potentially try to take the next step in continuing his career. On Saturday, he announced a 1-2 combination that created a swift alteration of his plans, both for the short and relatively long-term.
For starters, Nembhard announced that he was withdrawing from the NBA Draft and plans on returning to school. If you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, here it is: he won’t be returning to Florida, choosing instead to put himself into the transfer portal in search of a new program to continue his career with going forward. Once he gains eligibility, be it via waiver or if he has to wait until 2021-22, he will have two years of eligibility left. That could open up a bit of a hole in the Florida rotation, especially at point guard.
Nembhard started all 31 games at the point for Florida last season. He averaged 11.2 points, three rebounds and 5.6 assists per game last season. Nembhard shot just 44.1 percent from the field, though that was more due to a weak perimeter shooting performance as he connected on only 30.8 percent from beyond the arc. That was an improvement over the 41.4 percent he shot from the floor as a freshman, though he was much better from three-point range (34.7 percent) in 2018-19 than he was last year. All told, Nembhard started all 67 games that he played at Florida, averaging 9.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He shot 42.8 percent from the floor, including 32.7 percent from beyond the arc, and connected on 77 percent of his attempts at the line.
For Florida, it means that the team will have a new floor leader in the 2020-21 season. Tyree Appleby, who transferred from Cleveland State after the 2018-19 season, would be the likely guy to take over the starting job. He averaged 14.5 points, three rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.4 steals in 63 games, 54 starts, at Cleveland State in his first two years with the program. Ques Glover would be back to be the backup more than likely, though he is more of a scoring option as opposed to being a distributor. That’s something he’ll need to work on going forward if he hopes to be a viable option. Tre Mann, who averaged 5.3 points as a freshman last season, declared for the NBA Draft but could withdraw, though it’s unclear if he will return to Florida in that situation or pull a Nembhard. He, like Glover, finished last season with more turnovers (32) than assists (20), and needs to be more effective as a floor general as opposed to looking solely to create for himself.
It’s going to be interesting to see what Nembhard does going forward and if he’ll be on the floor in the fall. He could be the first of quite a few guys we see pulling back out of the draft in the coming weeks in order to try and improve their standing for future NBA Drafts.